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Children of the Far Flung

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Children of the Far Flung

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The true account of four generations of a remarkable Irish-American family, including the late Deirdre O'Connell, founder and artistic director of the acclaimed Focus Theatre.


Children of the Far-Flung is the true account of four generations of a remarkable Irish-American family, four generations of emigration and return, from Ireland to New York and back again.

It is also the story of the authors sister, the late Deirdre O'Connell, founder and artistic director of the critically acclaimed Focus Theatre in Dublin her marriage to singer Luke Kelly, her successes and failures and her remarkable and long-lasting impact on theatre in Ireland.

In many ways, the book tells a tale common to thousands of immigrant families who made new lives in the teeming metropolis of New York City between the 1930s and the 1960s. It describes their ongoing struggles to walk a tightrope between two cultures their divided loyalties between the home they left behind and the new one they were creating in America and brings into sharp focus the conflicts that millions of immigrants face when forced to choose between the two.

At its heart, Children of the Far-Flung is essentially a joyful story, one of faith and endurance, a story laced with a touch of madness and a spirit of adventure, told with love and affection.

About the Author

Geraldine O'Connell Cusack has worked as a teacher in the South Bronx in New York City, on curriculum development for a bilingual-bicultural programme with the Seminole Indian Tribe in Florida, as director of a learning facility for expatriate and local children in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile and as an Ireland Aid worker developing locally produced learning materials and Kiswahili language textbooks for Tanzanian primary schools. She now works for the Dublin City Vocational Education Committee at a community training workshop for inner-city youth.


This is the epic story of a hugely creative Irish-American family. It races along from a Bronx which was once the preserve of strong, ambitious families to Dublin and Cork and Sligo and on, even to Moscow and to the remote Indian reservations of the Florida swamps.Geraldine O'Connell Cusack dispassionately tells the story of a family that is, at once, deeply loyal to Ireland and to the United States, always alive to the endless possibilities of a life which embraces both risk and adventure.

Damien Kiberd, broadcaster, author and founding editor of The Sunday Business Post

Children of the Far-Flung is more than a family history; it is the story of America and the immigrants who made it home. It is also the challenging story of Ireland and the socio-political climate that often made emigration the only option.

Patricia Harty, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief, Irish America magazine

Children of the Far-Flung is a valuable memoir which intertwines a fascinating family history the story of the Irish diaspora in the United States with the story of Ireland over the past century. The author offers insightful perspectives from both sides of the Atlantic, and bridges the ocean with a highly readable account of human connections and family ties. If you want a sense of Irish America and its roots and ties to Ireland, Geraldine O'Connell Cusacks book is compulsory reading.

Gerry Adams, Sinn Fin MLA, MP

Children of the Far-Flung traces more than a century of the OConnell clan, from the War of Independence, the Bronx in the Depression, Dublin in the 1960s right up to September 11th. Uniquely, the O'Connells came back to Ireland, not in the late 1990s as so many others but in the 1950s and 1960s, when everyone else was leaving. Not only did they come back but they did so with great confidence and success, culminating with Deirdre O'Connell's fantastic contribution to Irish arts via the Focus Theatre. The book sheds light on the identity crisis experienced by many Irish-Americans, their divided loyalties and ambiguous identities. But most of all, its a celebration of mavericks, individuals and people who plough their furrow using a combination of native Irish sense of place and an Irish-American dollop of chutzpah.

David McWilliams, economist and broadcaster

Additional Information

Additional Information

Author O'Connell Cusack, Geraldine
Editor No
Print Format Paperback
ISBN-10 1-904148-33-6
ISBN-13 n/a
Illustrations No
Date of Publication September 2003
Number of Pages 240